New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

City and State News Rising Stars Forty Under Forty by Chris Bragg

Rising Stars Forty Under Forty


The latest census figures show New York has 4,617,307 residents under 40 years old. Only 40 of them can fit on our annual list of Rising Stars. So what does it take to make the cut?

It helps to have made a difference already. Our list includes people who have run for office and people who are running offices; people who are making policy and people who are shaping the consensus behind it; people who deliver the news and people who make the news; those who raise their voices the loudest and see results.

It helps to be full of potential: The 162 Rising Stars from our first five years are a who’s who of New Yorkers who have emerged as today’s leaders—serving in New York, Albany and Washington, directing the city’s growth and driving the debate over how it happens.

And it helps to have already made a mark across multiple fields. This year’s Rising Stars may have started as coffee fetchers and junior staffers and campaign aides, but they have risen to become chiefs of staff and foundation directors and key consultants.

Still, narrowing more than 250 nominations down to 40 Rising Stars wasn’t easy. We could have easily filled another issue with energetic young New Yorkers who will undoubtedly shape the city in the years to come—and we expect many of this year’s finalists to rise to the top next year. And that’s not counting candidates like Ede Fox, chief of staff to Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, who would have been on our list had she not turned 40 a few months ago.

Our special thanks go to City Clerk Michael McSweeney and his staff at the Marriage Bureau in Manhattan, who graciously let us photograph our Rising Stars in front of the City Hall backdrop (above) where the city’s couples mark their marriages.

It’s tough to top the happiness of a newlywed, but seeing the crop of smart, accomplished and ambitious Rising Stars who are busy shaping New York with their best years ahead of them makes us mighty happy about the future.

Get involved to make your voice heard.

Get monthly updates with the information you need to make a difference.